The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

ResHall Recipes: Valentine’s Day comfort food

5 min read
By ESTHER HEATHCOX Valentine’s Day is a national holiday for individuals of all ages who get to enjoy the delicious recipes that this holiday brings. However, one important group of individuals that shine in the kitchen are not star-crossed lovers, but instead the single hearts of Mary Washington.

Alan C. | Flickr


Valentine’s Day is a national holiday for individuals of all ages who get to enjoy the delicious recipes that this holiday brings. However, one important group of individuals that shine in the kitchen are not star-crossed lovers, but instead the single hearts of Mary Washington.  

1. American studies major Corey Draper believes in the finer things in life for his Valentine’s Day celebrations, and what is finer than Julia Child’s famous recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon?

“It’s my favorite because it’s basically fancy French comfort food,” Draper said. “The wine and the meat create this really luxurious and flavorful sauce that is damn near perfect with carrots and potatoes. And the salt from your tears of unfathomable loneliness won’t overpower anything.”

What You’ll Need:

6 slices bacon, cut into lardons

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large carrot, sliced

1 large white onion, sliced

1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups red wine, like a chianti

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves smashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 crumbled bay leaf

18 to 24 small pearl onions

3 1/2 tablespoon butter

1 herb bouquet (4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf)

1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered


Simmer bacon lardons in 4 cups water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large Dutch oven, sauté the bacon in 1 tablespoon of oil for about three minutes, until it starts to lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Dry the beef in paper towels for better browning. In batches, sear the beef on all sides in the Dutch oven. Set aside with the bacon.

Back in the pot, add the sliced carrots and onions. Sauté in fat until browned, about three minutes. If there’s any excess fat, drain.

Add the bacon and beef back to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Toss. Sprinkle with flour and toss once more. Place in the center of the oven for four minutes.

Remove pot from oven; toss beef and place back in the oven for four more minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.

To the pot, add the wine and stock. The liquid should barely cover the meat and vegetables. Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Bring to a light simmer on the stove, then cover and simmer in the lower part of the oven for three to four hours, or until the meat is easily pierced.

In the last hour of cooking, bring 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons oil to a medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pearl onions and toss around in the fat until they’ve browned, 10 minutes. Then stir in 1/2 cup beef stock, a small pinch of salt and pepper and the herb bouquet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the onions for about 40 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender.

Remove the onions and set aside. Discard the herb bouquet and wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining butter and oil and bring to a medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes, shaking the pan to coat with the butter.

Place a colander over a large pot. Drain the beef stew through the colander and into the pot. Place the pot with the sauce over a medium heat and simmer for about five minutes, skimming any fat on top. Pour the beef and vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Pour the sauce over the beef mix and simmer an additional three to five minutes.

Garnish with parsley and serve with potatoes, rice or noodles.

2. Khayla McGowan, a rising senior in the department of history enjoys making her Valentine’s Day the center of Italian cuisine.

“Italy is a country of romance, the language, the food, the art, so any part of that should make its way into ANYONE’S Valentine’s Day,” said McGowan. “If sharing with friends, family or a significant other, the love that goes into making Italian food is too great not to share!”

What You’ll Need:

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic


1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

12 lasagna noodles

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook: two hours 30 minutes

Ready In: three hours 15 minutes

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about one 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for eight to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a nine inch by 13 inch baking dish. Arrange six noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Whether you are enjoying Valentine’s Day with friends, family or by yourself, these recipes brought to you by some of Mary Washington’s finest singles will make your 2017 Valentine’s Day a hit.

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